16 Responses to “Madonna Inn Mugs – Front AND Back!”

  1. Allee Willis

    Allee Willis

    Insanely jealous of these as you might guess! Do you know what year they’re from? I’ve stopped mid trip and eaten in the coffee shop so many times but have never seen these. If I had, there would’ve been a dip in their inventory.

    The rhyme scheme is absolutely dreadful which, of course, kicks it way high up on the ladder of Kitsch. Gianni Zavala must have had too much to drink in one of the jungle or cave rooms in order to even come up with this. Not only does it not rhyme, the meter changes from line to line. I was seasick by the end of reading it.

    As far as the stage coach goes, they must’ve just come across some clip art as so little of the entire joint has anything to do with Western or early America anything.

    How many of these you have?

  2. pspevak

    The mugs are circa 1995 (last time I was at the Madonna Inn). I’m pretty sure I bought them in the gift shop.

    You’re a step ahead of me on Gianni’s “poem” – I had to read it about a dozen times before I realized there even was a (disastrously executed) rhyme scheme.

    I have 2, but the artwork is wearing off in spots on one of them, so I use that one for my hot chocolate and have taken the other out of regular use (god forbid I should actually wash a mug by hand).

  3. Allee Willis

    Allee Willis

    You know, in all the years I’ve been going to the Madonna Inn – just quick snack and rest stops, never an overnight stay, which is insane I know – I’ve never gone into a gift shop there. What was I thinking?? I’m due for a trip to Monterey right before Christmas and will definitely hit it for the sprinkle cookies that get me from San Luis Obispo to Pebble Beach and will poke around the place till I find the gift shop. Which means that by December 26th I’ll have coffee service for 20.

    The more I read the “poem” the more I lose my appetite, which is an excellent sign that one has stumbled on a pinnacle of Kitsch.

    Good idea to keep one of the cups out of circulation. Once they start fading never put them in the dishwasher again. You cannot risk losing those immortal words forever.

  4. pspevak

    I think you’ve stumbled on to something – “The Pinnacle of Kitsch Diet.” You wouldn’t need any recipes – just images of appetite-supressing kitsch. I see a holiday best-seller! I’m sure Gianni would be proud to be included…

    Good luck on your scavenger hunt!

    • Allee Willis

      Allee Willis

      In theory that works… but I can’t imagine anything kitsch truly suppressing my appetite. It would only increase it. Now if only I knew if Gianni were still alive I could add him to my Willis stable of fine stars, right next to the Del Rubio Triplets.

  5. pspevak

    Did you know the Madonna Inn website offers “just a small selection of the many wonderful gifts we have in store for you when you visit the Madonna Inn?” Alas, they don’t have the mugs. But there are phone numbers for the gift shops if you want to check out availability…http://www.madonnainn.com/store/.

  6. Mark Blackwell

    Mark Blackwell

    Googling the author of the poem, I have located a Gianni Zavala who graduated from San Luis Obispo High School in 1992, so if the mug is circa 1995 perhaps this was one of his English 101 class works…

  7. pspevak

    That’s kind of a bummer, actually – I envisioned Gianni as some long dead former proprietor who thought he was truly capturing the mood of the Madonna Inn…

  8. Mark Blackwell

    Mark Blackwell

    that’s funny, i was thinking the exact same thing! i looked through all the madonna inn history to see if i could find any other zavalas, but i can’t. nevertheless, perhaps the ’92 graduate of S.L.O. H.S. is a namesake son or grandson…!

  9. pspevak

    That’s the story I’m going with – a namesake grandson who was trying to capture the passion of his long dead grandfather. It’s better than the MI holding a contest at the local high school to see who can write the cheesiest non-poem.

  10. Mark Blackwell

    Mark Blackwell

    i just found a mary zavala who graduated from the same S.L.O. H.S. in 1963, so the name definitely goes back in that area…

  11. Mark Blackwell

    Mark Blackwell

    yes! we’ve got the start of a regular zavala geneology going here…haha…

    i noticed that this very conversation pops up on google, so perhaps at some point it will come to the attention of a true zavala who can take it to the next level…calling all zavalas…

  12. pspevak

    I think we do…looks like gianni jr could be the son of mary zavala since on classmates he’s listed as gianni pilnick (zavala) – could be the melissa rivers syndrome (use your mom’s last name instead of your dad’s because it has more juice – evidently the name zavala means something in SLO). yes, a true zavala would be v helpful…